Articles: Memory

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Dual Channel. Erased Latency


Now I would like to introduce to you a pair of modules from a different category: they can’t boast low memory timings, but are guaranteed to work fine with high timings at high frequencies. The family will be represented by a pair of “younger” modules classified as PC3200 (DDR446), which work at the nominal frequency of 233MHz. This pair of memory modules boasts the biggest capacity of all our today’s testing participants: 512MB each, making the total of 1GB.

Note that any memory faster than PC3200 (DDR400) is officially not standardized, that is why the manufacturer can use any characteristics he likes. In this case the memory should work fine at 233MHz frequency with 3.0-4-4-8 timings.

The info from the modules SPD proves this info correct:

We performed the check and here are the results we got:

We can look at these results from two viewpoints. On the one hand, everything is just fine and we saw a definite increase of the working frequency compared with the nominal one. On the other hand, the situation is quite frustrating because this memory cannot work with the minimal timings at all, while 245MHz is the maximum stable frequency. So why is this memory better than a pair of PSD512400K modules, which were the first ones to be tested today?

Here I would like to make one very important comment: PDC1G3700ELK memory modules really worked stably only at 245MHz, however, they could successfully start at 270MHz too. Though they failed to pass the tests at this frequency. Don’t you think that the gap between the starting 270MHz and operational 245MHz is a little bit too wide?

The first supposition we made dealt with overheating problems. If you remember, something like that has already happened one during our memory tests. When we tested takeMS memory modules, we used a low-speed Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra, which is a very quiet solution with low speed fan. However, the chipset North Bridge heatsink got overheated because there were no air flows inside the case, since ASUS P4P800 mainboard, just like ASUS P4C800 mainboard uses passive chipset cooling.

This time we used a Zalman CNPS-7000A-Cu cooler and the North Bridge temperature remained within the allowed values, however, the memory turned out to be heating up too much. The aluminum heatspreaders on the memory modules heated up to 50oC. When I installed a fan to cool down the memory modules a little bit we managed to increase the stably working frequency up to 255MHz, which is a pretty good achievement I should say.

All the tests were run without any additional cooling involved. That is why the result obtained with an extra fan is not displayed on the diagram below. But please keep in mind the following two things:

  • The memory gets heated up that greatly only by the special testing utilities. In real life it is pretty hard to reach this temperature, and the top frequency when the memory works stably will be higher than what I managed to obtain this time.
  • Even if your everyday applications are known to be very aggressive towards the memory, just a small additional cooling will significantly raise the top frequencies for your memory.
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